Emily Dickinson's Collected Poems

Part Three: Nature 65. There is a flower that bees prefer


There is a flower that bees prefer,

And butterflies desire;

To gain the purple democrat

The humming-birds aspire.

And whatsoever insect pass,

A honey bears away

Proportioned to his several dearth

And her capacity.

Her face is rounder than the moon,

And ruddier than the gown

Of orchis in the pasture,

Or rhododendron worn.

She doth not wait for June;

Before the world is green

Her sturdy little countenance

Against the wind is seen,

Contending with the grass,

Near kinsman to herself,

For privilege of sod and sun,

Sweet litigants for life.

And when the hills are full,

And newer fashions blow,

Doth not retract a single spice

For pang of jealousy.

Her public is the noon,

Her providence the sun,

Her progress by the bee proclaimed

In sovereign, swerveless tune.

The bravest of the host,

Surrendering the last,

Nor even of defeat aware

When cancelled by the frost.